SRINAGAR: With “insider involvement” not being ruled out, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has ordered a probe into the sensational escape by a top militant commander from custody after two cops were shot dead by unknown gunmen at Srinagar’s SMHS hospital yesterday.

A senior J&K Police officer said initial investigation hints at “insider involvement” because the “attackers were aware” about the “movement of (six) detainees” who were brought from Srinagar's Central Jail to the hospital by at least 20 police personnel.

Sources said the escort for the movement of prisoners was provided by District Police Lines, Srinagar while a team from the jail also accompanied the prisoners with their medical records.

“The attack was over in less than three minutes which indicates that a lot of planning will have gone into it. They (militants) were waiting for the police party to arrive and as soon as our men proceeded to buy admit cards for the prisoners, militants opened fire which triggered panic,” the officer said.

Witnesses and sources said one of the two deceased policeman lay unattended in a pool of blood on the floor of a corridor near the out-patient department of the SMHS hospital, where the shots were fired, while the hospital staff, patients and attendants ran for their lives.

A J&K Police head constable Mushtaq Ahmad and a constable, Babar Ahmed, were killed in the attack while Naveed Jhat, LeT's former district commander of Shopian and a resident of Multan in Pakistan, managed to escape from police custody as militants opened fire on the police party.

“Its quite possible that the information about Naveed's medical check-up at SMHS hospital was passed on to militants in advance. Any information about the movement of prisoners is known to a select group of people. But since the investigation has just started, it will be too early to arrive at any conclusions,” the officer said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, also told reporters that the attack was “well-planned”, “It was a well planned strike. There were no security lapses on our part. However, Naveed managed to run away with the rifle of one of the two slain policeman. We have started an investigation and hopefully the attackers will be arrested soon,” he said.

In a statement, the J&K Police said a probe has been ordered, “It is reported by Police Station Karan Nagar that militants fired on the escorting party of J&K Police. One prisoner Mohd Naveed Jhat S/o Mohd Haneef R/o Multan Pakistan managed to escape from the custody of the escort party. DGP Prisons ordered internal enquiry which will be conducted by the DIG Prisons and who will submit a report immediately,” the spokesperson said.

Sources said the daring escape has been captured by CCTV cameras installed in the hospital premises, whose footage is being scrutinized by the investigators, “Taking advantage of the commotion, the militants managed to escape from the hospital most probably on a bike. We have got some leads which are being examined,” sources said.

Mushtaq, a resident of Karnah, is survived by his wife and an adopted daughter who is a minor. Babar, who lives in Achabal of south Kashmir, is survived by wife, two daughters aged three and two years, father, four brothers and an unmarried sister.